By Contributor on February 25, 2014

By Algernon Felice

So another Black History Month is ending, and I'm not sure we, as black people, are any wiser.

I have a wish list that I hope we can accomplish by next year's Black History Month.

1. I wish that we as black adults would apologize to our children for somehow leaving them the impression that we have arrived.

2. I wish that we as black adults would take responsibility for teaching our children their history, and not leave it to white educators. Yes, schools have their place, but do your job, too.

For instance, let your kids know what the "N" word has really meant so they think before they use it.

3. I wish we could truly understand how coupling education with property taxes cripples our children. When our communities don't have a strong property base, our kids suffer.

4. I wish that rappers, entertainers and athletes with money would begin investing in our children's education.

5. I wish our school choirs and choruses would inject one or two African-American songs in their repertoire, not just the same tired Negro spirituals. It just might encourage kids to join and parents to attend, seeing themselves honored and represented.

6. I wish I could open my phone book (remember what that is?) and find a black mechanic, painter, plumber, electrician, truck driver. That would help my kids and yours have more role models to choose from.

7. I wish we could find more rounded stories of our history to recreate in the form of a movie. There must be other stories about us that Hollywood could find.

8. I wish our young people wouldn't have to fear for their lives just because they're black and because some whites view that as so threatening. See Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.

9. I wish the depictions of my Savior looked a bit more like me. It would help to give him a little dark tan and rounded nose.

10. I wish we would stop parading ourselves around every February to receive a paternalistic pat on the back. Enough placating!

Algernon Felice is a cultural counseling psychologist, researcher, teacher, consultant, writer and storyteller. He specializes in student retention and success at both the K-12 and higher education levels. He blogs at www.diversitycontact.wordpress.com, and he can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

Copyright Algernon Felice

Photo: spirit of america / Shutterstock.com.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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